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Making a perfect start 'at home'

Debutants Pune Warriors defeated Kings XI Punjab by seven wickets in an Indian Premier League match in Mumbai on Sunday. Amol Karhadkar reports

cricket Updated: Apr 11, 2011 00:45 IST
Amol Karhadkar

The last time the Dr DY Patil Sports Stadium hosted an Indian Premier League (IPL) game, the Chennai Super Kings triumphed over Mumbai Indians in the final of the previous edition almost a year ago. The night will also be remembered for Lalit Modi's last appearance as the chairman of the money-spinning Twenty20 extravaganza.

Modi, just before he was suspended by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, had made an emotional speech before a packed house. However, when IPL action returned to the ultra-modern venue on the outskirts of Mumbai on Sunday, it neither had Modi nor a packed house.

However, half the 55,000-odd chairs at the stadium were empty more due to the fact that the Navi Mumbaikars preferred to stay home and watch on TV their real home team — Mumbai Indians — open their campaign with a thumping victory against Delhi Daredevils than to pay and see their adopted team — Pune Warriors India — make their IPL debut.

But with the heartening performance Yuvraj Singh's Warriors came up with during their convincing seven-wicket win against his former team Kings XI Punjab, it would not be a surprise if more seats are occupied for their next outing against the other newbies Kochi Tuskers on Wednesday.

The World Cup star did not bowl, but did his job of motivating and rotating the bunch of bowlers to perfection as KXIP lost half their side in the first six overs. As a result, the innovatively (read hilariously) dressed Warriors cheerleaders — whose costumes resembled traditional Bengali attires than Maharashtrian — were ending their so-called Indian dance moves with a customary Sahara Pranam frequently.

Jesse Ryder maintained his good form with the bat to allow Yuvraj to take a much-needed rest for the better part of their 113-run chase. The 'Prince of Pune' hit the winning boundary with 41 balls still left, and his team couldn't have asked for a better start to their IPL sojourn.